Burning Desire to Share
My sponsor fired me the other day not because I have a desire to stop drinking but, my undesired ability to believe in God. He said, “You can float around like a butterfly but eventually you have to sting like a bee” Does anyone know what he is talking about? That sounds silly. I have not touched a drop of alcohol for seven months and he’s harassing me to believe in God. He also said, “I let you get away with the not-god thing long enough. It’s time to grow up and get with God or die.” My heart tells me he is wrong to say that but, I am outnumbered in my group. It’s like 50 to 1. I’m glad I came to this site because there is a lot of support for members who are like me. In my group, I’m treated poorly. When I share some people shout, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God, because God believes in you. Someday you will get down on your knees and beg for his mercy.” I leave meetings sometimes feeling insulted and humiliated. I thought I was supposed to feel love and hope. I really wish there were more people like the ones on this site at my group. I wish there was a pamphlet to allow me to be the way I am so I can show those guys and tell them to back-off but there isn’t. If there was I wouldn’t be treated badly. I’m not going to drink because of them. I accept the fact that I have a medical condition, alcoholism. That means I am sick and my brain is wired for pleasure. Alcohol will kill me; my non-belief in God won’t. That’s crazy. I know I’m new and stupid. You can ask my ex-sponsor who belittled me to no end. What I’m saying is I am grateful for all the points of view here. If all of AA was like my group then AA would be a scary place. But, thanks to i-Say I feel I belong to something wonderful and I can see that AA is more with it than the impressions I get from my group.
He did you a favor. Don't worry about the higher power/God stuff. It's quite alright to be a non-believer in AA. I actually became a non-believer after 6 years in recovery and that was 24 years ago. As long as you don't pick up the first drink everything will be okay. Unfortunately, there are unhealthy god people that will come after you. Many of the people that attacked me are not even sober today but, here I am years later. You don't have to be Mister Popular in AA. I bet you any money there are people like you looking for people like you. Things are different now in the rooms however some folks aren't open to it.
In A.A. sponsors are for people who believe in God but cannot rely on him - I think you quailfy
Hi, thanks for commenting on my post. Can you be more specific? Your comment is not clear to me and it may be helpful. Thanks again
Tried with no luck !
You're in the right place and just keep doing what you're doing. It is not my place to judge your group but we have to be accepting of everyone b/c we've all been in that hole we call alcoholism by ourselves until we found the fellowship. Your Higher Power is whatever you need it to be today to keep you sober and that's truly what's it's all about. Everyone's journey is going to be different and you're definitely strong to just listen and let it go.
Take care and happy travels through sobriety one day at a time.
“You can float around like a butterfly but eventually you have to sting like a bee”
It was Muhammad Ali's stated strategy for a particular fight. A fighter can dodge around for a while but he eventually he needs to start boxing to win a fight.
When I took an honest look at my drinking and unmanageable life, some of my very best thinking resulted in my car smashed on a utility pole. I was smart enough to make it through engineering school with a BS ME without much effort but trying to deal with everyday life sent me to the bar for solutions. Then that solution caused more problems. With a drinking history written out, I could see that I needed something or somebody else running my life. It’s a program of action. Saying yeah you’re probably right does not get results. Writing a first step got results. It was a somehow different man looking at step two then.
If I try to sponsor someone who rejects the steps for month after month I simply have to tell him the truth. I don’t have anything to help you. Thanks for helping me stay sober but stop wasting your time with me. We both need to move on.
I don’t have a crystal ball and without one anyone is on a fool’s mission guessing who will stay sober and who won’t and why. I am a recovered alcoholic who has been alcohol (and drug) free for 33 years. I read Working with Others in the Big Book frequently to avoid the mistakes you report. Carrying AA’s message correctly is certainly contrary to the first thing I think someone needs.
The thing that really stands out in your post is how really important that not believing in a higher power is to you. Not a word of “I have really tried but get nothing”. AA’s program is one of action, a program of changing ideas and attitudes. I have read the chapter “How it Works” and the 12 and 12 many, many times about step two. I strenuously resisted steps two and three when I entered AA but AA changed me. I finally noticed that step three did not require that I become a missionary in a leper colony the worlds worst hell hole salaried at a dollar a year, praying on my knees all day on my day off. It simply tells me to take a moral inventory next. I did that. It was an eye opener. I became willing to read it to a Chaplin that swore like a sailor and said he didn’t believe much that was written in the bible. Six and seven started to look a lot better. Today the steps are useful tools to solve everyday problems.
You are completely anonymous online. Why not spell out why resisting any kind of faith is so important to you? If you aren’t willing to do even that, I don’t see that AA has anything to offer you but bad coffee and more frustration. Good luck.
I guess what he's trying to say is, when you look in the mirror hopefully the image that's appearing is not God.
I ask people who claim AA membership who reject God and/or the twelve steps what exactly do they practice. What is their message? I haven’t received much of a response. Some have said sharing. Sharing drinking histories is certainly important to remind us what we don’t want to return to and provide a picture to newcomers that they may relate to. If that works, then what? He knows he has a problem, what’s the solution? Go to meetings? Why? A replacement for the bar, a safe house? Cure a deadly, progressive disease by going to a neutral corner for an hour a night for the rest of his life?
Say it is a mythical magical meeting – no God stuff or praying, or chanting, hand holding, advice giving, Big Book beating, down-the-throat-jamming or steps. What goes on in there? If you say sharing experience, strength and hope, you need to spell it out for me. I’m dense. What happens in that hour? Please don’t bother with an argument with one of the words I have chosen to use or some other evasive rant. That’s all been recorded here before. The question is - What happens in that hour?
Thanx in advance and have a great day.
I feel it’s important to mind our own business in recovery and not worry about how someone else is getting sober. I haven't detected the same hostility as you. Why not share your experience and have an open mind. Occasionally, I read a few aggressive and immature posts on both sides of the spectrum but, the majority show great love for the fellowship. What I gather from the reading the posts is there are some member who have an “Outside the 12-Step Box” recovery that want to be treated as equal members. I’m like most members who like traditional AA, the one you seem to be passionately defending. Are our recoveries that fragile that a few members will bust our peace of mind up? Honestly, AA doesn’t need any defending by the way. It’s bigger than you and I. A few posts here and there supporting different points of view will not bring it down. My sponsor is an atheist sober about three decades but, the majority of members in our group have no idea. He gets a kick when people say he’s the most spiritual person they have ever met! Are these kind words to him invalid because he doesn’t get sober like you or me? Think, Think, Think.
Each meeting I attend has its own "sense," as the Quakers might say. Meetings without those attributes you think are what make an AA meeting typically involve just what the preamble suggests, members sharing their experience in staying sober a day at a time while learning to "live life on life's terms," with or without belief in supernatural power. As Bill W. noted, when all else failed, work with another alcoholic helped keep him sober. Today, that work for me often consists of just showing up for a meeting. Last time I checked, there was no requirement that I accept or reject your god or anyone else's god to be a member.
We share honesty and freely without fear of judgment. We
care enough to actively listen. It IS mystical and magical.
We certainly do not reject God or the twelve steps. We
embrace them. We share about them, without pushing them
on each other, or anyone else. Dr. Bob advised us to keep
it simple. How much more simple can I put it. I hope to stay in that neutral corner, where it is safe. ANONYMOUS
I am only 8 months sober and am grateful for having found AA. I am having a problem with "sponsorship". My dear friend has been sober 2 yrs. and her sponsor insists that she must quit taking the medication for clinical depression that is prescribed for her. May I also add that she has been institutionalized more than a couple of times. Her life is finally coming together, family has forgiven her and she can hold her head up and shoulders squared and be proud of her sobriety. She is so awesome with the newcomers, the reason many ever step back in to the meetings. Most in our home group treat the newcomers as an annoyance. I find this ludicrous that a sponsor is attempting to play doctor. I love my friend and do not want to go back in to that dark hole she has struggled so hard to climb out of. Am I way off base? I guess I just don't understand.
Listen to your God given instincts and develop them in the fellowship before you get diverted by the followship as you are warned about them in the Traditions and 3 pertinent ideas of A.A’s ABC’s Glad you are here my friend
I agree with you...leave medication to a doctor!
Those who need to hear AA’s message are not limited to those just walking through the door. None of us get the whole message until we graduate and thirty three years hasn’t gotten me there yet. The sponsor, playing doctor, needs more of the message and needs it now. Not unusual. Sponsorship is not a one way street. I’ve enjoyed the education provided by numerous tour guides but I never heard one claim having all the answers. (And many of them are licensed!) A sponsor, a tour guide for AA, shouldn’t be held to a higher standard. They don’t need to be, after all life is and open (Big) book test.
Wow - sounds like that is one rough home group you have there, if what you're saying is true (do you think it could possibly be your own perception, thinking the home group members see newcomers as an annoyance?) If ANY folks in AA tell you or anyone else to stop taking their meds, then find another group. There is not a person in the program who should be giving advice on meds - WE ARE NOT DOCTORS. Tell your friend to find another sponsor - and stay on her meds, if that's what her doctor is telling her to do. Just hang in there and find another home group - and please don't leave...
I am not about to leave! My home group is within walking distance and many fellow alcoholics who are my dear friends live close and do not drive presently either. I am getting a lot of mixed messages, but I find myself on this site reading and studying every day to keep my head clear of some of the "nonsense" I hear and it works! I also attend meetings at other locations to learn more about alcoholism through others experiences and about myself. I know I am doing the next right thing, they cannot shake my sobriety or take away the peace and tranquility I am feeling. I try to love all, but have discovered not all are lovable regardless. And yes, some of the longer sober ones seem to take a sick pleasure in watching us newbies struggle, but we prevail!
Recently, I was at a meeting and a man said, “If the brain is engaged then God is disengaged” That was just too much. The sad thing was everyone was nodding their heads. My first sponsor said, “You can’t think your way out of a bottle” I disagreed and that was 29 years ago. Is thinking a bad word in AA today? Is there not a slogan “Think, Think, Think”? In my area, many of the meetings don’t even have this slogan on their walls alongside the other ones. I often hear, “My best thinking got me here!” That just is not true. Who was the unwise originator of that turn of phrase? The way I see it, my worst thinking got me here, which was a thinking compromised by my addiction to alcohol. I was not capable of making sound choices as long as alcohol was in my body. Just to go along with the phrase, yes if I made a decision to come to AA for help I believe that was thinking at its best but, as it is really implied not very helpful. I used to hear I over E (intelligence over emotion) There was once an importance placed on learning to use your mind in a healthy way and to start making healthy choices. At my first meeting I heard, “Think through the drink.” People talk of emotional sobriety. To me, this will only happen if the brain is engaged. What is there to fear? It’s popular to hear, “Faith without works is dead” Well, I must think in order to keep the workings of faith alive.
People who think their thinking got them here the Big books talks about, some are mentally disordered incapable of being honest with themselves, knows very little, maybe even nothing about alcoholism they can’t think right? So they join the outside institution around A.A for comfort and lime light. . I am glad I have a reason for being here alcohol got me here and my thinking keeps me here.
Think! Thanks so much for the post and the old reminder of I/over E. I agree re-using the brain in a healthy way is the first step into taking responsibility for our situations and our individual journey’s into sobriety. We must learn to think to determine if we are alcoholic or not; if we are powerless or not. Was an angel going to slip away from heaven and deliver a note to me saying I was powerless over alcohol? Every person in my life was doing that just fine but, I couldn’t see it. The white light fever thing with rapturous gongs never happened to help convince me I was sick. It took time. After a lengthy withdrawal period and attending meetings 2-3 times a week for a year, I could clearly see what the first step meant and the importance of thinking. It’s easy to read the first step once and move on to bigger and better things but, to fully grasp what alcoholism is and the ramifications if I pick up again took much longer. On the surface the first step is an obvious thing but to fully meditate on it is another. Although my thinking is far from perfect today, I have enough of it to take healthy choices thereby having the ability to stay sober for one day.
"Faith without works is dead". Works without faith can also
be dead. Many AA members think that the solution to alcoholism is a mechanical procedure. Sit an alcoholic down
at a table with workbook, pencil and a sponsor and work this
thing out. Work the twelve steps and you will be well. I
wonder just how many alcoholics do get sober this way. There
are some. Maybe one out of a hundred or one out of a thousand?
Alcoholics Anonymous offers a technique, method, which
rarely fails. Faith is the main ingredient in that recipe.
The steps are an adjunct, which we offer in the form of
suggestions. When I looked closely, I could see that I
had taken steps one, two and three upon entering A.A. The
rest of the steps have helped me over the years.
When "working with others", we do our part by sharing
our own experience, strength and hope. We have faith that
God will do His part, if we stay out of the way.
Sure, the steps work for some, but Dr. Silkworth's
IDEA rarely fail. Attraction, not promotion. First we need to make sure our own house is in order. ANONYMOUS
We've got to quit admitting members based on their liabilities.
Thank you for the reminder of the “Think, Think, Think” slogan. I rarely see this slogan on AA walls anymore. Perhaps this is a visible sign that “thinking” has become a bad word in AA today.
Some of you may recollect the film “Days of Wine and Roses,” from 1962. In the middle of the film, there is an AA meeting attended by Joe, an alcoholic who gets sober in AA. It’s Joe’s first time at the podium, saying “I’m an alcoholic” to the group. Joe’s figure on either side is framed by four big one foot by two feet posters. In big letters, one of the posters on his left says “THINK.” The other posters surrounding Joe say “EASY DOES IT,” “LIVE AND LET LIVE,” and “FIRST THINGS FIRST.” This film portrayal of AA’s walls in the 50’s and 60’s seems remarkably different from how AA walls look today.
In the rooms, I too hear the phrase “my best thinking got me here.” I always respond by saying “my worst thinking got me here.”
First Things First, Easy Does It, and Live and Let Live
were A.A.'s first slogans. The three are listed on page 135
in the Big Book Fourth Edition. When was Think, Think, Think
added. Was it really in the film in 1962, or was that
movie up-dated? Corey, where are you? ANONYMOUS
Easy Does It But Do It!
Can you tell me where to find this in A.A. literature?
But Do It! negates Easy Does It. Think, Think, Think.
If Joe does not state his name, does the group yell
"WHO ARE YOU"? Keep in mind that membership doubled
in that decade. Think, Think, Think. I think the introduction of chanting into A.A. was a horrible
blunder. I makes us look ridiculous, IMO. ANONYMOUS
No comments on my typing blunder? I really need to pay
more attention to Preview. ANONYMOUS
When Joe says "I am an alcoholic", does the crowd yell
Hi! Joe!? Something to THINK about. ANONYMOUS
Is it possible that the craving phenomenon that is spoken about in Chapter 2 of the big book also is happening when one drinks and then craves/reaches for other drugs? That describes me when I drink? Is that all part of the craving phenomenon that is alcoholic behavior?
There is a ton of current research on addiction to investigate. Behind addiction is not a lack of god but a brain disorder. It's in the bio-chemistry of the individual. Why do some people become addicts and others do not? Look at the research and it will answer your question. It’s all the same. I personally didn't do narcotics because alcohol did the trick. But it’s common in the rooms that members including me will switch addictions because after they sober up, the brain is still trying to light up the nerve pathways. Some do it with sugar, heavy caffeine drinking, nicotine, carbs, obsessive exercise, rage, sex, medications, diet colas, self-help books and so on. Chasing highs even though the alcohol has long been put to sleep is very common. In my experience, no matter how hard I worked the program I was miserable because in a way I was still blocking the recovery process with these other distractions. I needed to learn to have constant vigilance over these things. I have to make sure I am not numbing out my feelings and emotions in other ways. Recovery to me is allowing the feelings to surface. By facing and learning how to negotiate them the mind will heal. Taking healthy perspectives on these roots of pain totally turned my recovery around. If you are still lacking the joy of sobriety and have been in the rooms for a while perhaps my experience may appeal to you. Thanks
If we know what causes the craving, and how to prevent
it, does it really matter? Keep A.A. simple and out of
research. Leave that to the scientists. Rose
Does it make a difference?
I do have a plan which will solve our money problem and will return our fellowship to an
acceptable public image. First, any paid employee who has been an AA trustee will be terminated,
with a three week severance pay. All current trustees and future candidates will be required to
sign a release stating that will never expect or accept a paying job with A.A.
Second, begin a five year plan to eliminate all non-alcoholic Trustees. The need for non-
alcoholic trustees has not existed for many years. We can take care of ourselves.
Third, use five million dollars of our Prudent Reserve Fund to "Buy Out" as many employees
as possible. Use the remaining four million to move out of New York City. Save a million in
the Prudent Reserve Fund. That will meet our revised minimum requirement.
Fourth, return our goal of self-support and move toward that goal. "Spend what we send! and
not a penny more. Do not provide services that we are not willing to pay for out of our own
pockets. Sell books and literature at the cost of printing.
There are many flaws in our A.A. structure from top to bottom. Many took decades to happen
and may take decades to correct. But if we do not start now we may never return A.A. to any
acceptable degree of effectiveness. It ought to be obvious why I sign my messages ANONYMOUS
I have plan for you that is fool-proof. Put your hand out to a newcomer, make coffee, sweep floors and take the cotton out of your ears and place it in your mouth. Works every time. You'll wake up one day and be amazed before you are half-way through. Old School AA that works. By the way did I miss the meeting that appointed you the guardian of the kingdom? Love and Let Love
Don't expect much help here. Newcomers don't know or care what you are talking about and more experienced members understand that anyone harboring such a big resentment just doesn't get it.
The OK Go ahead was supposed to have a not really happy face after it. I guess it didn't come through.
Oh, it came through. Most A.A. members, new or experienced,
have no idea what my concerns are. The more experienced
members who do understand remain silent for selfish reasons,
greed being the main reason. Most any person of average
intelligence could understand it, if they cared enough.
Investigate THE POWERFUL TRADITION Page S72 in the
Service Manual. Bill warns us about the danger of inviting
authoritarian and institutional operating styles which
would conflict with A.A. principles. I suppose the
principles Bill is referring to, no longer exist. This
is probably not easily understood by today's A.A.
member. I was 35 years sober before I even saw a Service
Manual. Shame on me. ANONYMOUS. Believe me I was much
happier with my head in the sand.
OK. Go ahead.
Only our General Service Board of Trustees (GSB) have
the power to "Go ahead". You may not know that, but it
is accurate. Our Board of Trustees have all legal power.
We could get their attention by refusing to send them
any more money. That is the "power of the purse". Bill
explains that in Concept Seven. Our Trustees can either
obey the wishes of the membership, or continue on
their own path. They have recently made profit from the
sale of books and literature acceptable as a second
source of income. They removed the "in 1986" paragraph
from Page S72 in the Service Manual. I assume that this
deletion was "conference approved". In the near future,
our Trustees will begin to accept money from other
sources, further violating Tradition Seven. They do not have
to change the tradition: They just ignore it.
I am deeply concerned about where our financial
support comes from. What concerns me even more is that
so many of our A.A. members do not know the value of
self support. They don't care where the money comes
from. "What difference does it make?". The difference
is whether Alcoholics Anonymous is going to survive or
not. It may never die. We could just remain an eight cylinder engine running on two cylinders, which could
continue for many more decades. Personally, there is
not much more I can do. I can't do it alone. If you
do not help, there is no way I can "Go ahead". If
you are concerned about A.A.'s future, contact your
delegate. Do your own investigation. Seek out others
who may understand.Ignorance is not bliss. It can be fatal. ANONYMOUS
What a great idea. It should be implemented as soon as possible.
“some think it’s a rigorous practice of the 12 Steps, some think its sober alcoholics sharing their experience, strength and hope……”
I don’t see where anyone get the idea that it’s an either/or proposition.
I share my experience of what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.
What it was like is simple enough. I drank too much. I throw in some details for the newcomer in case it might strike a chord that someone else’s story might not.
What happened was a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps. Most of my story is spent on the steps, how I did them. If someone brought a broken car to some kind of car repair group I believe he would need more information about how to fix one than how broken they can get or how good they are after being repaired.
My strength? It took some intestinal fortitude to give up the only way of life I knew, to trust an unknown Higher Power and face my shortcomings and their results. Sometimes it was hard, but I did it. I think if I did you can too.
And hope - What it’s like now?
I personalize how the promises have come true in my life.
Junk vehicles to nice ones.
Replacing what to do for money to what to do with money.
Run down house in a slum to watching the sun rise and set over our land.
One night stands to 12 wonderful years of marriage and growing.
Comfortable around strangers and everyone else.
Still having feelings that jump all over the Richter scale but no longer control my life.
Assertive when I need to be and accepting when I need to.
Happy to live and unafraid to die.
God doing for me what I could not do for myself.
so helpful my feelings too jump around but no longer control my inner life the way they used to--thanks for calling that to my attention
Sounds like your life a perfect life today. Congratulations! I didn't do any of those things you mentioned and I got the same results. Go figure. The program works even if you don't work it.
To me, as long as I don't pick up that first drink and seek goodness its a sober happy hour 24/7. Thanks
Funny, I've never seen anyone hanging around cardiac rehab or a weight watcher's picnic saying "I don't do any of these things and get great results?
Why do we get them?
Thanks for a simple message. If we "don't drink" and
show up at meetings to try to share this precious gift
with others, how can we fail? I believe that "It Works"
no ifs, ands or butts. Seek and spread goodness. My
life is not perfect and I am not always happy, but your
message brought a smile. Rose
I'm an alcoholic I can't just NOT DRINK. I am sick mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The physical improves in the absence of alcohol. That's not enough for the other three. That's how we can fail.
“some think it’s a rigorous practice of the 12 Steps, some think its sober alcoholics sharing their experience, strength and hope……”
I don’t see where anyone get the idea that it’s an either/or proposition.
Some think it's a followship some thinks it's a free gift from God the fellowship
Shhhhh Don't tell the outside sponsorship syetem practicing on people already here helping people out instead of in !
I am curious about THE PLAN which had gotten a lot of attention in the year 2012. My delegate
returned from the annual conference and gave the report at our Spring Assembly. I tried to pay attention and would have asked for details at the end, but I already had questions to ask. I had to ask if the commemorative first edition was accepted or rejected. I thought it was rejected (which
it was), but the minority voice turned the vote around. So it will be published against the
wishes of my area. But what happened to THE PLAN? Was the whole thing dropped, or was it placed
on the back burner. What happened to the Planner. Did he resign? Was his term completed? Or did
he drop out of sight for a while until a paid position in the structure can be found for him,
maybe as GSO manager? The last two GSO managers were trustees. I don't know how many trustees
have been given jobs in the past. It makes me extremely sad that most A.A. members today have
no idea what my concerns are about. ANONYMOUS